Spoilers dead ahead, this is Series Issues.
The Walking Dead 4×12: Still starts with Beth needing a drink. A real drink. I’m not sure what we’re trying to say here. Society has broken down, and with the fall of the prison our characters are more broken than they were in the beginning. Beth now needs a drink. The episode feels a bit like a rite of passage.
This episode would have been better titled “awkward”. Beth is seemingly going through some teenage revelry phase while I’m sure Daryl is trying to find his internal moral compass. It’s foreign to him to deal with a teenager, but deep down you can see him keeping his cool because that’s Hershel’s daughter he’s traveling with. It’s a little too close for comfort when they have to share the trunk of a car for the night.
Incidentally, Daryl notices one of his bolts is broken after he retrieves it from a tree. His ammunition is starting to show its age and at some point he’s going to need/make more.
The unlikely pair end up at a golf range, where Beth’s mission to find her first drink ends up with a bottle of peach schnapps. I don’t have to mention they have to battle roamers across the way. In true Dixon fashion, Daryl smashes the bottle of schnapps and tells Beth he’s going to get her a real drink. I guess he’s making up for having splashed her new clothes with blood when killing a walker.
We end up in a small cabin with a still and a lot of moonshine. Then there’s another awkward setup as Beth takes her first drink and tries to get Daryl to play a drinking game. I kept thinking this could have gone all kinds of wrong. Eventually Daryl loses its cool. This place is not unfamiliar to him. It reminds him of his old life with Merle and even the younger times with his Dad.
Drunk and with a zombie lurking outside, Daryl decides to teach Beth how to shoot a crossbow. As Beth eventually stops the game by killing the walker, I was more than a bit scared for her here. Nothing happens, but they still keep drinking. Daryl opens up to Beth. The reason why he seems to survive a world where everything has gone to hell is because in his world everything was gone to hell more than halfway already. What he did before everything turned? Nothing. He and Merle just roamed around.
Eventually Beth suggests they burn down the whole thing with a creepy stare. I almost thought she’d gone the way of Lizzie here, but it ends being a fitting end. Once the music starts playing I understood the suggestion that this experience has been cathartic for both of them. We’re even regarded with both Beth and Daryl giving the finger to the blazing inferno before they walk away. You can see a smile of Daryl’s face as we fade to credits.
Highs: Character building. Daryl faces a few demons of the past and survives the experience. More important than that, Beth survives the experience too. I’m not sure what she was all about when she started her whole “my first drink” bit, but she ends up being a more interesting character. She’s a bit more resilient than expected and capable of handling herself.
Lows: I got this creepy vibe all throughout the episode that they were going to hook up. Beth is a teenager drinking with an older guy who’s done all sorts of wrong in the past and is not too keen on restraining himself. She should know better is an understatement. They need to find someone else just so both can be around other people. This episode doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the overall storyline.
That will do for now.